THUNDER BAY – In front of a raucous home crowd at a jam packed Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, the JNT mashed their way to a 9-2 victory over the Netherlands to open the World Junior Baseball Championships.
The crowd of nearly 3,000 people came out of their seats in the top of the 1st inning when the JNT jumped to out an early 3-0 lead. With 1-out in the inning Brandon Dailey (Brantford, ON) reached via an error and quickly stole second base. Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, ON) then nailed a ball into the left-centre field gap that scored Dailey easily from second. Pompey was thrown out at third when he tried to stretch a double into a triple. With two outs the JNT put across two more runs on RBI’s from Philip Diedrick (Ajax, ON) and Jalen Harris (Toronto, ON) to give the Canadians a lead they would never give up.
“It’s a game you need to win, you have to win and that’s not always easy, especially when it’s opening night,” said JNT Head Coach Greg Hamilton (Ottawa, ON).
The Netherlands were able to close the gap by scoring a run of their own in the bottom of the first off JNT starter Jesen Dygestile-Therrien (Montreal, QC). However, the game was blown wide-open in the 2nd inning when Dailey and Pompey went back-to-back, each hitting homeruns to left field. Dailey’s was a three-run shot that saw the ball clear the scoreboard in left and land on the street. Pompey’s homerun left the park in a hurry and brought the crowd to its feet for the second time in as many at-bats.
“It was a 2-0 count, so I was trying to put a good swing on the ball,” said Dailey of his homerun. “It was a fastball up and I hit it good.”
After the offensive outburst Therrien took over on the mound and was virtually untouchable the rest of the way. Therrien’s outing saw him pitch 6 innings, where he gave up 2-runs on 4 hits, 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. The Netherlands other run came on a solo homer in the 6th inning.
“It’s not easy for a young kid to go out there and deal with everything,” explained Hamilton. “I was glad we were able to go out (in the first 2 innings) and get those runs for him.”
After Therrien’s night ended the JNT used 3 pitcher’s to close out the game. Joel Pierce (Windsor, ON) came on to pitch the 7th inning and after walking the first two batters of the inning, induced a ground-ball that resulted in a double play. Pierce struck out the next batter with a runner on third base to end the threat.
Brain Bardis (St. Constant, QC) and Nicholas Pivetta (Victoria, BC) threw scoreless 8th and 9th innings respectively. After the game ended the JNT received a loud ovation from the faithful crowd, many of whom were decked out in red and white.
Notes: The JNT will be put to the test on July 24th when they will face the Cubans at 7pm ET at Port Arthur Stadium. …The JNT had 13 hits against the Netherlands with Pompey leading the way with 3. … Prior to the game against the Netherlands, the opening ceremonies were held with all participating teams represented. … The Thunder Bay International Baseball Association has announced that, due to circumstances beyond its control, the schedule of the 2010 IBAF World Junior Baseball Championship will be changing. The TBIBA has learned that the Venezuelan entry will not be attending the event. All games that were scheduled for Venezuela have been cancelled in addition to 2 play-off games. The rest of the schedule remains the same. … Fans can follow each game of the 2010 World Junior Baseball Championships by visiting: http://www.scorekeepers.org/tornei/2010/canada/schedule.php
Larry Hebert advises that for Saturday’s game featuring Canada against Cuba that the opening pitch will be thrown out by a serious baseball fan, who just happened to have celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday.
Hebert shares that things are going very well, and that fans are really enjoying all the sights and attractions at the Port Arthur Stadium. Hebert has requested that fans use Thunder Bay Transit to get to Port Arthur Stadium and is doing that himself, putting his words into action.
The 2010 IBAF World Junior (18U) Baseball Championship will host national teams from Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Cuba, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Panama and the United States. Teams will begin qualifying games on July 23rd and the tournament will culminate in the Gold Medal game on August 1st at the Port Arthur Stadium in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Visit the website at www.worldbaseball2010.com. For tickets, please call Toll Free 1-877-422-3201.